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Here’s How to Pick the Perfect Paint Color Every Time

Paint colors

The perfect paint color is fundamental to your interior design. Image: Mary Bona – Design Find

Let’s face it: Picking the right paint color is important. There’s no denying the shade we pick to adorn the walls is a fundamental part of any interior design project. In fact, it’s often the element the rest of our aesthetic choices are based on.

That said, choosing the ideal shade is far from easy. There are so many options available and each one just a little different than the last. For many, it’s almost impossible to figure out where to start.

We’re ready to put this age-old problem to rest, once and for all. We’ve compiled a list of our best tips on how to pick the perfect paint color for your interiors. Use these suggestions the next time your home needs a fresh coat of paint and we guarantee selecting the shade will be a quick and painless process.

textile inspiration

Use textiles as inspiration. Image: McCroskey Interiors

Buy textiles first

Usually when we talk about textiles, they’re considered a finishing aspect of the design, so this advice may seem counterintuitive. However, one of the easiest ways to make sure your paint coordinates well with the rest of the room is to use fabrics as your design inspiration.

Think about it this way: If you pick the paint first, you might find yourself limited to only a few fabric options that match your wall. But if base your color palette on an existing product, you’re far more likely to find a coordinating shade of paint. If need be, most home improvement stores will even mix a unique shade for you.

With that in mind, start your design projects by building off a single piece that catches your eye. Patterned items are particularly good options because they often incorporate multiple shades and can be used as the basis for your entire color scheme.

paint color transition

Paint can help your eyes transition from one space to another. Image: Peterssen/Keller Architecture

Work with neighboring spaces

Odds are, you’ve experienced a house where the paint choices were truly overwhelming. As you walked from room to room it may have felt as though there was nowhere for your eyes to rest, as though the home was too busy for its own good.

Most often, this feeling occurs when homeowners try to do too much with their design. They’ll give each room its own distinct style and color scheme while forgetting to account for the fact that their home needs to feel cohesive.

Paint can be that unifying element. Before you decide on a particular shade, consider how it will look with your existing interiors. The colors should work in harmony. While this tip is especially important to follow when working with open concept spaces, the effect a color has when transitioning between more traditional rooms should also be considered.

paint color lighting

Consider how different lighting will influence your shade. Image: Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.

Factor in lighting

Like it or not, the way in which a room is lit can have a huge impact on how the room looks. Each light temperature pulls out a color undertone, which is why rooms often feel vastly different at night than they do during the day.

With that in mind, it’s crucial to ensure you’ll be happy with a color regardless of the time of day. The only way to know for sure if a color meets your needs is to test it out for yourself. It’s an easy process, but it does require a little work.

Once you have a color in mind, ask to have a sample made up for you at the local home improvement store. When you take it home, paint a few, small sections of paint on each wall. Then, check in on them throughout the next day. If you’re happy with how the color looks in both natural and artificial light, you’ve found a winner.

paint finish

The finish you choose will have a big impact on your final product. Image: Niki Papadopoulos

Don’t forget finish

Many people tend to overlook the fact that paint color is about much more than the shade itself. Finish is another component that can alter how your finished product looks. Be sure to take this into account before making your final decision.

Here are the options you can choose from:

  • Flat finish: This is your least shiny option. It comes off as modern and sophisticated, but it doesn’t clean well, so it isn’t the best choice for kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Egg shell finish: Low luster, the finish looks decorative and is often used in dining rooms.
  • Satin finish: This is the most popular choice and works well for high-traffic areas like hallways.
  • Semi-gloss finish: Will give the room a subtle shine and is fairly easily cleaned. It works well in kitchens and baths.
  • High-gloss finish: This will give the room a shiny and polished look, but is stain-resistant and easily scrubbable. It works best in kitchens and baths.
paint color

Paint color plays an important role in interior design. Image: International Custom Designs

Choosing the right paint color is a key part of the success of a design. However, for many of us, the selection process can be incredibly difficult. After all, there are countless shades of paint on the market and their slight differences can have a drastic effect on your final product. There is hope. Consider the advice in this post to be your ultimate guide to picking the perfect paint color every time.

Do you have trouble selecting paint colors? Or do you have a tip of your own to add? Share your experiences with us in the comments.


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